Zanzibar, what an exotic destination! This is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa – kind of tells already almost everything? Well what you get are beautiful white beaches combined with warm waters of the Indian Ocean that felt almost like 37 Celsius, very friendly people, nice small towns and villages, and all you can expect of a historic trade center with Islamic and Swahili influences.
Zanzibar was the destination where we met for a trip to Tanzania and Kenya. Landing at the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport that is the main airport in the Zanzibar archipelago located on Unguja island is quite an experience and the first thing you learn is that you have to get a visa that can feel taking pretty long especially when arriving after a long international flight, fingerprints and photos guaranteed. But after having already seen the beautiful coastline while landing this becomes an easy task in anticipation what to further expect of this island.
While driving to the hotel you drive through typical East African style of villages and cities that already shows you the multitude of impressions waiting for you. This ranges from the traffic that reminded me very much on what I encountered while driving through Indian villages and cities – maybe not quite as busy but still – to the many goods that are obviously traded here, historically most well known maybe cloves, followed by coconut products and spices.
Agriculture and fishing are still the main economic activities of local people followed by tourism with steadily increasing number of visitors coming every year.
Today Zanzibar is an island state within the Republic of Tanzania that should be our next major destination, but more of that in later posts. Today there exists a semi-autonomous government made up of a Revolutionary Council and House of Representatives.
Arriving at our hotel after approximately 45 minutes drive from the airport, the wonderful Next Paradise http://www.next-paradise.com/en/, we encountered great hospitality from the owner himself who manages this place with his wife (both are from Europe) since already quite a while.
This hotel is situated at the fascinating beaches on the west coast of Unguja island, needless to say white powdery sand and beautiful warm waters guaranteed. There is a constant breeze from the Indian Ocean that usually keeps the sky clear and free from clouds and you can find many beautiful places along the hotel beach where you easily can relax and enjoy one or more refreshing drinks.
If you are up for activities you can book tours for swimming with dolphins, big game fishing, diving and snorkelling to Mnemba atoll or even big game fishing. I personally enjoyed the hotel so much that there was not even the slightest doubt to just hang around at the ocean or pool and then slowly prepare for a delicious dinner with some drinks at the hotel bar.
Unfortunately the time we stayed on the Zanzibar archipelago was only short as we had to leave for our trip to the Tanzanian national parks after only one night, but I was definitely convinced that I needed to come back sooner than later.
Learn more about safari tours including Zanzibar on our African Safari Tours page with a variety of sample tours.
Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa